I’m always excited to get my hands on new picture books! Winter break is the perfect time to restock your classroom library with fresh new books you’re excited to use in the classroom. And of course, this includes books about winter!
A great way to work winter-themed picture books into your lesson plans is to use mentor texts to support reading and writing instruction (and science, too). Here are some of my favorite winter picture books to use with students in grades 3, 4, and 5.
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin is a fantastic book to use to introduce your students to the literary nonfiction genre. I’ve used it along with a snowflake STEM activity and it was SNOW much fun! (I had to.) This Caldecott winner will work nicely in your reading lesson plans or in science to support lessons on weather.
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen is another Caldecott winner and a must-have for every classroom! This tried-and-true mentor text is wonderful for teaching personal narrative (small moments), theme, sensory details, and figurative language.
Over and Under the Snow
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner explores what animals are doing under the snow as a child plays on top of the snow. The figurative language throughout the story makes this a great pick for mentor sentences, especially if you teach a descriptive writing unit. It would also work well to introduce animal adaptations in science. And even better, it’s part of a series!
Ten Ways to Hear Snow
Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper is a beautiful picture book that explores all the sounds you hear after a snow has fallen. I loved the use of sensory language in this book as well as the emphasis on family and traditions. This would make an excellent mentor text or interactive read-aloud for students in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade.
The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder
The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Marc Casino and Jon Nelson is a great nonfiction book to have on hand in the winter months. You can use this book to teach or review skills like using nonfiction text features, asking questions, and using headings and subheadings. It’d also make a great model text for teaching paragraph writing. And it’s a good supplemental trade book to have in your classroom library if you teach the water cycle, precipitation, or severe weather.
Here are a few more favorites that are more for the primary grades but that the bigger kids still love:
There are so many great winter-themed books for kids, but it can be hard to find ones you can use as part of your instruction at the upper elementary level. I hope you’ve found some new favorite winter books to use with your 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade students!